Dec. 1, 2017 Issue

FDA Issues Guidance Regarding Prohibition on Distributing Free Tobacco Product Samples

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Oct 19, 2017

On Oct. 11, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued finalized guidance to make clear that its ban on free samples of tobacco products includes electronic cigarettes. Specifically, the FDA said its ban on free samples of tobacco products applies to any tobacco product that is subject to FDA regulation, including components and parts of tobacco products like e-liquids and the refillable cartridges for e-cigarettes.

The agency finalized the regulation banning free samples in March 2010. At the time, the rule only applied to cigarettes, but the agency extended its authority to regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in August 2016. FDA noted in its regulation at the time that free samples of e-cigarettes were being distributed at music festivals and motorsport events making them easily and freely accessible to children. 

Under the guidance, tobacco product manufacturers, distributors and retailers can still sell products at a discount, accept coupons and offer two-for-one deals. They cannot, however, give out products in exchange for a consumer’s contact information or for signing up for a mailing list.

Impact on General Dentistry: General dentistry has long been on the front line of defense against oral cancer. In that vein, the AGD applauds the FDA’s guidance on the prohibition of distributing free samples of tobacco products.